Was Malcolm X a Closeted Bisexual?
Manning Marable has recently released a 594 page autobiography of Malcolm X, that alleges the revered activist had homosexual relationships.
The new biography asserts that Malcolm X had exaggerated his early criminal career and had engaged in an early homosexual relationship with a white businessman. The book also claims that some of the triggermen responsible for killing Malcolm X are still alive and were never charged.
But Marable “doesn’t necessarily say that Malcolm is a gay man. He is suggesting that Malcolm at certain points in his life engages in sexual activity with men and particularly this man — but he frames it around economic need and social anxiety.”
Marc Lamont Hill said this about the claims:
For example, childhood schoolmate Bob Bebee recounts an interaction between him, Malcolm, and a local boy who they caught masturbating. Malcolm, Bebee recalled, ordered the boy to masturbate him, and later bragged that the boy had given him oral sex. Numerous sources, including close family members, confirm that Malcolm earned money by “servicing queers.” According to Malcolm’s sidekick Malcolm (“Shorty”) Jarvis, he was paid to sprinkle a wealthy Boston bachelor with talcum powder and bring him to orgasm.
Malcolm’s acts weren’t always done for pecuniary reasons. In Flint, his former roommate said, Malcolm would often go down the hall and sleep with Willie Mae, a gay transvestite. Also, scholars like Perry have argued that Malcolm’s misogyny, masculine insecurity, and early dissatisfaction with male-female sex are signals of a latent homosexuality. Others point to his obsessive-compulsive work habits, shaky relationship with his wife Betty, and celebrated sexual restraint (X is often constructed as the anti-King) as evidence of sublimation and suppression.
Now, what’s funny to me that people are saying that Malcolm X being homosexual somehow takes away the contributions he has made as a black activist. In our community we’re so quick to condemn our black men for being “on the down low,” but we don’t exactly make a friendly coming out environment. It’s sort of like a dam*ed if I do, dam*ed if I don’t situation. I’m not sure if these allegations are true or not but they don’t take away what Malcolm contributed to American society…even if he was a GAY black man.
What do you think readers? Are the allegations believable? If Malcolm X was gay does that change your whole perception of him? Do you think the writer is just trying to stir up publicity?